Green’s Dictionary of Slang

faker n.

[Fr. faire, to make, ult. Lat. faceo; cf. fakir n.]

1. a maker.

[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] Faker, maker.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]Yorks. Eve. Post 15 Apr. 1/7: [The] variety of occupations adopted by tramps is enormous [...] There are ‘mushfakers,’ ‘chaneyfakers’ (menders of china), ‘cadeyfakers’ or ‘grubbers’ (hatters) and so on.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 27: Faker a jeweller [ibid.] 60: Pot Faker, a hawker of earthenware.
[UK]H. Baumann ‘Sl. Ditty’ Londinismen (2nd edn) v: Piratical fakers / Of bosh by the acres, / These muck-worms of trash / Cut, oh, a great dash.

2. a forger; earlier uses implied in bene feaker n., bit faker under bit n.1

[UK]Era (London) 12 Nov. 8/3: [O]ur fighting contributor [...] has thus poetically classed them:- [...] ramps (10), fences (11) and bilkers (12), and fakers (13) and smashers (14).
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 3 Mar. 4/7: In England, during the reigns of John and Henry III, the food-fakers had a decidedly rough time of it [...] When a man was convicted of adulterating food [etc.].
[Scot]Aberdeen Jrnl 30 Jan. 4/6: This book is known in the trade as the 'Faker's Bible'. There is hardly any piece in it that has not been copied.
[UK]R. Fabian Anatomy of Crime 193: Faker: Forger.

3. lit. or fig., a performer, an actor.

[UK]Man of Pleasure’s Illus. Pocket-book n.p.: You may pipe the crib by seeing a board whereon is inscribed the name of the piano faker, pallavring the swells and yokels that she ‘gives lessons in French without the aid of a master’.
[US]N.E. Police Gaz. (Boston, MA) 18 Aug. 8/1: [of a presidential candidate] Another’s fame must yet be sung; — / I know the ‘faker’ well.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 23 Oct. 2/2: The [theatrical] season has begun very ominously. Lots of ‘fakers’ have had to walk during the past week.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 27: Faker, an actor.

4. (US) a thief.

[UK]G. Borrow Lavengro II 29: We never calls them thieves here, but prigs and fakers.
G. MacDonald Robert Falconer (2007) 570: Them pusses is mannyfactered express for the convenience o the fakers .
[UK]Era 24 Nov. 4/3: 'Now, ladies and gentlemen,' says the Faker, 'I'm overflowing with animal magnestism. I'm so attractive that rings and watches are often found in my pocket which do not belong to me'men,'.
[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 54: Old Faikers, experienced criminals.
[UK]A. Morrison Child of the Jago (1982) 173: The sand-bag faker was moved by particular love of linnets. His spoil was got rid of as soon as the bird-shops opened in Club Row.
[Scot]Eve. Post (Dundee) 25 Sept. 4/5: The Jewel-faker [...] the works are taken out of watches, and the precious stones re stripped from their mountings.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 201: faker, a thief.

5. a street salesman of cheap goods.

[US]Century Dict.
[US]R.H. Thornton Amer. Gloss.
[US]N. Anderson Hobo 43: The faker appeals to the crowd. The faker is a salesman. He ‘pulls’ a stunt or makes a speech to attract the crowd. [...] His wares consists perhaps of combination sets of cuff buttons and collar buttons, or some other such ‘line’.
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 445: Faker, A peddler who attracts a crowd by a speech, song, or acrobatic performance and then proceeds to sell them some wonderful article.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

6. a confidence trickster, a fraudster.

[US]Trumble Man Traps of N.Y. 30: New York is celebrated for its large army of petty swindlers, or, as they style themselves, ‘fakers’.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 20 Apr. 3/6: Stannard was wellknown to the officials of workhouses [...] as the 'Soldier Faker'. He was constantly shamming fits.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘What You Want’ in Strictly Business (1915) 308: Say, you old faker [...] I don’t know what your game is, unless you want change for a bogus $40,000,000 bill.
[US]J. Lait ‘Canada Kid’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 174: There he was, a sidewalk curbstone faker, peddling with droning voice two-bit swindles to the Christmas crowds.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 150: I had met an American faker, named Shaw, and an Oxford boy, a good sport.
[US]B. Appel Brain Guy (1937) 149: The grifters, chisellers, fakers, fags, business men on the tear.
[US]R.O. Boyer Dark Ship 227: When I get out of the bucket some of these fakers shoot one of our guys.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 110: I had made him for a faker when he walked in the room.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 130/2: crip-faker n. A professional beggar who pretends bodily injury to gain attention.
[US]C. Hiaasen Stormy Weather 139: Your crew of gypsy fakers hit my wife for seven grand.

7. a pimp.

[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

8. a scavenger.

[UK]Lloyd’s Wkly Newspaper 6 Sept. 3/5: James Pearce, 72, a ‘faker’ (collector of odd wood, coal etc. in the streets) [...] went out ‘foraging’ [and] was run over by a butcher’s cart’.

9. (US) one who poses falsely in order to gain status.

[US]K.Y. Rockwell letter 14 Aug. in War Letters (2008) 2: There is also one De Besa, who calls himself a Brazilian count [...] He is a 33rd degree Mason, has traveled all over the world and speaks several languages. Everyone has him down as a faker, but he is certainly most interesting to talk to.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.

10. (US) a person feigning illness or injury.

[US]N. West ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ in Coll. Works (1975) 254: He felt better, knowing this, because he had begun to think himself a faker and a fool.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 798: faker – One who shams or pretends.
[Oth]L. Aparvary Legionnaire’s Journey 230: ‘Heart trouble my foot. You’re a good faker and they fell for it’.